Trailblazing retailers never stop looking for new opportunities to delight their customers with unexpected products, service and experiences.

These tips give you 10 real-world examples of better ways to:

  • Grow revenue through better customer interactions in store and online
  • Reduce costs with operational efficiency
  • Bring ideas to market faster

1. Design and bring products faster to market

At the luxury jewelry brand Astley Clarke, the creative team is rarely in the same country, much less the same room. As a result, Google Apps has become a natural part of the creative process from inspiration to online sales. Team members collaborate on jewelry, marketing campaigns and the website by sharing concept sketches, gemstone images, prototype photographs and other digital assets in Google Drive.

You can use Drive to make sure your marketing team, creative agencies, resellers, and other vendors are always working with the same up-to-date content. Drive’s sharing features and access controls make working with external partners simple and secure.

Google Apps helps us work better internally as well as externally, with our suppliers and vendors.

—Bec Astley Clarke, Founder and Chairman, Astley Clarke

2. Improve supplier collaboration

At, growth is based purely on market demand, so speed is a critical part of the culture. To give the customers what they want, the company launches two new furniture collections a week. To keep their widespread team connected and on schedule with approvals and production, they count on Google Apps.

You can bring your products to market faster by collaborating and sharing product designs, quality guidelines, KPIs and mock-ups on Google Drive. Use shared Google Sheets or Calendars to manage tasks. Crowdsource design feedback from employees, suppliers and manufacturers with Google+ and hold live online meetings with suppliers in Google Hangouts.

We’re using Google Apps on a day-to-day basis. They make everything quick, efficient and very simple.


3. Empower store associates for better customer service

Design Within Reach separates itself from the competition by providing a customer experience as unique and inviting as its furniture products. Employees use Google Apps to provide a consistent experience across every location by instantly sharing inventory lists, promotion schedules, store layouts and PR updates. Store associates always have the latest product information at their fingertips and can use their tablets to answer any question from the store floor—or even at a client’s home.

Help your store associates make more sales by putting the answer to every customer question in the palm of their hand. They can use their phones or tablets to access product specs, promotions, videos and FAQs stored in Google Drive. They can even reach out to their colleagues by posting a question on Google+.

We want to be more nimble. We want to be faster. Google Apps allows us to be closer to the customer.

—Design Within Reach

4. Better in-store experience with digital signage

Imagine running into your favorite clothing store in Chicago during a snowstorm and seeing a colorful digital display of cozy sweaters. Or you’re shopping in San Francisco for an outfit for a company party and the store’s display screens show cocktail dresses on sale.  Chico’s FAS stores will be using Chromeboxes to personalize the shopping experience by tailoring their digital signage to the city, the store, and even the specific department.

The Chromebox devices run Chrome OS, which is a powerful, affordable and easy-to-manage device platform for digital signage. This allows Chicos to handle content in the store digitally thereby reducing cost of print signage,and increasing the immediacy and relevance of the in-store experience for the buyer.

Chromeboxes as a signage solution met all of our tests for affordability and ease of management.


5. Manage store operation processes online

The French men’s retailer Celio uses Google Apps to achieve the speed it needs to lead its market segment. Google allows Celio to automate key processes like collecting sales data during peak sales periods when it's critical to keep stores properly stocked. It used to take over 4,000 calls a day to collect sales data from around the world, but now store managers simply enter it in Google Forms. From there it automatically flows into Google Sheets, is turned into dynamic graphics using Google Apps Script, and is shared instantly between headquarters, stores and distribution centers.

If you want to streamline your own business, Google Apps can move your operations and processes online. For instance, with Google Forms it only takes a few minutes to create electronic forms for use cases such as product recalls, time off requests, supply orders and company policies. Employees can access and update them anywhere, anytime from kiosks, computers or mobile devices.

Google Apps has enabled us to communicate more easily and quickly, and to be closer to our teams worldwide and in each store.


6. Train your store workers anytime, from any device

The famous patisserie Pierre Hermé Paris has boutiques in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, but the success of each shop relies on the special touch of Chef Hermé in Paris. To make sure the brand lives up to its reputation worldwide, Chef Hermé trains his staff by conducting global online meetings with Google Hangouts. The recorded video conferences are then stored on Google Drive so anyone can take a refresher course anytime they need it.

If you want to create your own self-service training portal, it’s easy. Just move your Hangout training videos, product launch videos, marketing campaigns, promotions, return policies and safety procedures to Drive’s cloud storage, then embed the files in Google Sites.

The fact that Mr. Hermé doesn’t have to travel for staff training means he can concentrate on the core of his craft—creating new products.

—Olivier Lacoste, Head of IT, Logistics, and Sales Shops at Pierre Hermé Paris

7. Improve information sharing between corporate and store employees with social networks

Woolworths is Australia’s largest retailer, so it used to be a real challenge for the company to communicate effectively among its 200,000 employees. Now,  Google+ makes it easy for everyone to share ideas, introduce new employees, follow the daily store news, or anything else with co-workers in their own store or across the entire organization. By giving everyone a fun and simple tool for engagement, Woolworths created a community that connects and collaborates not just at work, but even from home.

You can use Google+ to create your company’s community and help employees generate best practices, share ideas for increasing sales and provide feedback on new products.

All of our people have a tool that actually allows us to share ideas and engage with each other.


8. Manage employees’ tasks and schedules

When Tiger Lily’s management realized they were handling more IT problems than flower orders, they knew something had to change. They moved to Google Apps and their business tools suddenly became a huge help instead of a hindrance. Their email is automatically backed up in the cloud. Google Docs make it easy to monitor inventory, sales and staffing. And with Google Calendar it’s simple to track the entire staff’s appointments and availability.

If you want to create a dynamic schedule, use Google Sheets and Calendar together to plan and distribute tasks, track their completion and manage exceptions all in one place. Employees can access schedules from any computer or mobile device and directly add comments or change their status.

We're flower people. We're not computer people.

—Tiger Lily

9. Create an information hub

When you’re on the cutting edge of fashion, you have to move fast. That’s why AllSaints implemented Google Apps not just at headquarters, but in all its factories, stores and offices around the globe. Now, every employee has instant access to all the company’s latest information at all times.

If you want to keep your entire organization in sync, you can publish all your internal news, executive blog posts, project schedules, product documents, local and store-wide promotions, online forms and training content to a single Google Site. It’s a one-stop destination for important information that any employee (or a select group) can access anytime, from any device.

Our business is collaborative, driven by experimentation—and we need tools that can keep up with us. For us, that’s Google.


10. Recruit, interview and onboard workers quickly

The popular fresh food retailer EAT works hard to create a great experience not just for its customers, but also for its employees. For example, the company’s HR department uses Google Sites to give staff an easy-to-use website where they can find all the training and support materials they need in one place.

When employee turnover is high, shortening the recruiting and onboarding process can really impact the bottom line. Your company can use Google Apps for every HR process starting with employee recruitment. After interested candidates apply using Google Forms, you can interview them from anywhere in the world using Google Hangouts video conferencing. Then, streamline the onboarding process by using a Google Sites website for one-stop access to new employee checklists, tasks and training materials.

Investing in innovation is the way to bring more customers to your business. Since implementing Google Apps, there’s no looking back.


  • Author
    Rhonda Stites, Global Head of Industry Solutions, Google Enterprise

  • Topics
    Collaboration, Google Apps, Innovation, Productivity, Work better tips

  • Roles

  • Industries

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